Exmark walkbehind. Hydro or gear drive?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KB, Feb 3, 2000.

  1. KB

    KB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    Is there really enough difference in productivity with hydro vs. gear drive to justify $1400 difference for a part timer. I am going to try to pick up some extra money starting this spring by doing something that I enjoy...cutting grass. I have worked with others in the past but decided to go on my own because I wasn't getting to work enough. Although I thought that I was going to get a Lazer, I have come to the realization that starting out and especially as a "part timer", I can only afford to start out with a walkbehind. I have decided to go with either an Exmark 48" Turf Tracer HP (hydro) or Exmark 48" Metro HP (gear drive). The cost difference is about $1400 which is a lot for someone staring out and cutting only a few yards. Which should I buy? What your your suggestions? Thanks!
     
  2. Retro67

    Retro67 Banned
    Posts: 207

    There are two schools of thought concerning the hydro vs gear debate. Some won't &quot;waste&quot; there money on hydros, while others wouldn't waste there time with gear drives. It's really a preference, and I wouldn't use anything that isn't hydro. <p>My suggestion is to look at your hourly rate and decide how many hours it would take to pay the extra $1400. If you clear $40 per hour (which is not unreasonable), you can figure in 35 hours of saved time, the hydro has paid for itself. Divided over 28 weeks ( a common number of cuts) equals 1.25 hours each week you need to save in your first year to pay for the difference in prices.&lt;p&gt;<br>Cany you save 1.25 hours per weeek, even part time? Yes. Therefore, I feel it is justified.&lt;p&gt;John
     
  3. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,446

    Buy a machine you can build your operation with. If you figure time savings, maintenance and re-sale value, Hydro is the only way to go.
     
  4. MWHC

    MWHC LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Posts: 198

    The number of people using gear driven out numbers the people using hydros. According to Lawn&Landscape magazine, 32% of the immediate walkbehinds with decks 36&quot; and greater are hydros while 68% are gear driven. <br>Does this mean gear driven is better?<p>No, What I think this implies is that most people will not spend the extra $1500.00 to get a hydro. Retro is correct, they are faster and will save you time, they probably last longer too. Another reason belts are popular is because employees will tear up other items on the mower long before the belt or hydro drive system fails. If it were up to me, I would buy the gear driven and put the $1400.00 in a tech stock and let her ride.
     
  5. AB Lawn Care

    AB Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 585

    We bought a 36'' scag 14hp dual hydro this season and we tryed both the gear and hydro models,we love our little hydro we don't know how we could have lived with a gear drive.I think they are at least 1/4 faster than gear drive.An other big plus for hydro is they can be use on hills where as gear drive can't do that.We this year have also mounted a blade on our scag for snow removal.We have gotten close to one foot of snow in a snow fall and our scag still pushed its way through no problem.Could a gear drive do that?NO.I'm not saying that gear drives are garbage its just that there are too many reasons not to buy one.An other plus to buy hydro is the resale value.<p>I hope this will help you out.<p>from:Adam<br>AB Lawn Care
     
  6. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    Id like to see the ratio if you figured 48 inch or larger. I fail to see any advantage of a hydro on a narrow width machine, but certainly appreciate the time savings with my 52 inch.<p>Bill
     
  7. AB Lawn Care

    AB Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 585

    Thelawnguy<p>I noticed that you thought that a narrow width hydro machine would not be much faster than gear.In my case hydro is much faster becouse I use it on small residential lawns and I am allways in tight spots and if my walk-behind was not a hydro I would be much slower.Plus I use my hydro for hill work quite often and in that case you can't even use a gear driven.Even in wide open areas you still save time with a hydro.<p>I think that hydro's may cost more but in the long run you save time,make more money and have better resale value.<p>from:Adam<br>AB LAWN CARE
     

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